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Belly laughs at Flitwick

How belly dancing in the boardroom is bringing Flitwick colleagues a new-found confidence and a break from their desks.

Every Wednesday lunchtime colleagues at Weber’s Flitwick plant down tools and head to a meeting room.

It’s here that the jingle jangle of coin belts can be heard as colleagues’ shimmy and sway, discovering the health benefits of belly dancing, also known as Raqs Sharqi, an ancient art form that originated in the Middle East.

“Belly dance is great for core strength, but it’s an all-body workout,” says Sarah Lowe, a semi-professional belly dancer, and Development Chemist at Weber, who has been teaching classes since April to share her passion for the dance form while bringing the fitness benefits of the torso-driven movement to colleagues.

“Belly dancers make their dancing look effortless (“it’s just shaking, right?”), but there’s a lot of strength and flexibility required that you build during class,” adds the award-winning performer.

“The class helps colleagues to take a proper break in the middle of the day, encouraging them to step away from their desks and get moving, to return more refreshed for the afternoon.

“Belly dancing can also have a positive mental health impact; several people I’ve danced with over the years have found that they’ve become more body-positive and confident, which has been lovely to see.”

Sarah reveals that some colleagues were “taken aback” when she introduced the classes due to the stigma around the dance form. But it hasn’t held colleagues back.

“I won’t lie that some people were genuinely surprised, but it wasn’t a negative reaction. Our Flitwick class has been reasonably popular – ultimately, everyone’s been supportive, and a lot of people have taken an interest in the classes.”

Health and wellbeing play an integral part of Weber’s sustainability roadmap. Weber won the national ‘Employee Benefit Award’ for best healthcare and wellbeing benefits in 2019. Free health checks are available for all colleagues. Flitwick colleagues have access to an on-site gym, and financial gym support is available for Telford and Ballyclare sites.